Ventilation and Air Purification
In addition to other public health measures, ventilation plays a role in reducing the transmission of COVID-19 indoors. Ventilating a room or indoor space replaces the indoor air with outdoor air. This will dilute and replace air contaminated with COVID-19 virus or other air pollutants. Ventilation systems in Toronto Metropolitan’s buildings recirculate air through the HVAC system, where some of the indoor air is diluted with outdoor air and filtered before returning to the occupied space.
Toronto Metropolitan University follows the industry best practices for filter replacement and our air filters meet or exceed the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating recommendations — for filtering fine particles in the air — and guidelines put forward by American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and Public Health.
Steps taken to ensure ventilation in indoor spaces meets best practices
The university worked with a consultant to ensure that best practices and standards for HVAC ventilation and filtration with regards to COVID-19 are implemented. Since the onset of the pandemic, the university has taken additional steps to ensure appropriate ventilation in indoor spaces to extract air contaminants and bring in fresh air:
In addition, the university has also implemented the following strategies:
Which areas were tested and why?
- A risk-based approach was used in identifying spaces. Classrooms and other instructional spaces were selected due to the number of individuals using and the type of activity. Lower risk areas, such as individual offices, open work and study spaces and common areas were not assessed as individuals using these spaces are alone.
After extensive reviewing of our plans with Toronto Metropolitan's in-house teams and experts, contracting with an external engineering firm and sharing experiences with other Ontario universities, we are confident that we have taken all reasonable steps with our HVAC systems to help protect the health and safety of our community members.